Despite the size of the new coin, Canadians still find it more convenient than the old method, which was to pay with pelts.

The worst part of the pelt system was making change. The Toronto subway used to cost two beavers, and I used to hand them a sable and enjoy their confusion.

I do the same sort of thing with pirates. When their inns sell grog for a piece of eight, I love to slip them two pieces of seven and watch the fun.

He was a personal favorite, and he died much too young.

He would hate to hear that I wrote that. If Norm wrote his own obituary, he would probably begin it with, “I never really cared for the man.” As for the “dying young” thing, I’m pretty sure Norm would have pointed out that 61 is a ripe old age for somebody who angers OJ. I also believe that Norm would have been disappointed to die this way, quietly, a victim of cancer. I think he would much rather have been slain by one of the many people he offended, preferably by either OJ or a relative of the crocodile hunter.

Or an actual crocodile.

But not “some fruity fish.”

As others described him:

“One of the greatest comedians ever to have lived.”

As Norm described himself:

“I was a hick, born to the barren, rocky soil of the Ottawa Valley, where the richest man in town was the barber.”

Norm never held back, never pulled a punch. As a host, he never let the world forget that OJ was incredibly guilty. As a guest, I still credit him for arguably the greatest talk show appearance of all time, not just because of what Norm said about the beloved, recently deceased and widely mourned crocodile hunter, but also because of the way he frustrated Jon Stewart and the audience, and his brilliant piece of unscripted improv at the end when Stewart put him in the hot seat. His last line, a perfect example of using callback for comedy, completely surprised me (and Jon), and had me laughing out loud.

That appearance was my quirky preference among Norm’s guesting duties. Most people prefer his appearance with Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan.

Norm was so successful in comedy that he came very close to becoming the richest man ever to come out of the Ottawa Valley. He would have made it to #1, but as luck would have it, he died before the barber.

But the best thing about Norm is that he was more than just a fearless comedian. He was fearless in all his endeavors. He would try anything in life, just as in comedy. In fact, one time, on a dare …

He fucked a crocodile.

OK, that’s a funny concept. I get it.

What I don’t get is why a store named Canadian Tire is advertising a back-to-school special in their window banners. Kids in Canada must have a special back-to-school experience – they get some new pencils and notebooks, a few new items for their wardrobe, and a set of radials.

Based on that window banner, the fact that they sell Mr. Potato Head, and the outdoor flower display, I’m gonna take a guess without looking it up that a Canadian Tire store is not like a Firestone Tire in the USA. I guess you can’t make much money selling just tires to a nation where the most common form of transportation begins with “On, King! On, you huskies!”

I can’t figure out why, but whenever I played Wild West with my childhood friends, they would all laugh at me when I said, “I arrest you in the name of the crown!” I guess maybe I should have watched some American westerns.

By the way, my Russian ancestors failed miserably at winter transportation. My great-grandfather, Дядя Скупов, kept tinkering with animal-driven sleds, but he never could figure the right animal. I suppose his worst failing was the cat sled. You needed about 500 of them just to budge the sled, and then they’d all wander in different directions when he would bark his famous command, “On, Puff! On, you tabbies!” Now that I think about it, the cat sled wasn’t his worst idea. The poor man died tragically the first day he tested his ill-fated jaguar sled.

A 42-year-old Zamboni driver won his first NHL game Saturday after being tapped to play as an emergency goalie for the opposing team. Dave Ayres stepped in for the Carolina Hurricanes after both the team’s goalies had to leave the game with injuries, prompting the Zamboni driver to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the home team.”

Read that again carefully, because it’s even stranger than you think. Ayres works as a Zamboni driver and area maintenance worker for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, but he played AGAINST the Leafs, after having been loaned to the other team – and he essentially beat his own employers.

(This seems to be SOP in hockey, as I understand it. This is all new to me, but I just read that every game has a designated emergency goalie, provided by the home team, but available to either team in case both of their roster goalies are incapacitated in the same game.)

Authorities seize 12.7 tons of beaver penises” with a street value of $24 million.

That means beaver dicks are worth about sixty dollars an ounce! To quote the great Jeff Spicoli …

“Approximately 400,000 to 600,000 beavers must have been killed to produce the 12.7 tons of penises”

The Canadians were shipping them to China. Apparently the Chinese think beaver dicks make one … er … sexually vigorous.

This is not to be confused with the most Canadian HEADLINE ever …

Woman hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose

I feel like such a failure. I go to Canada every year for either the Toronto or the Montreal jazz festival, and yet I have never seen a beaver or a moose there. I’m pretty sure the Canadians are hiding them just to teach me a lesson of some kind.

To me the most Canadian thing I experience is having to pay the roadway tolls in pelts. If you’re taking a long trip and have a small car with little room for spare furs, you have to keep stopping at a currency store to exchange more Greenbacks. Then it’s so hard to stuff those pelts into the container at the unmanned toll booths. I still prefer those to the manned booths, though. I always get cheated there. The last time I drove the QEW, the toll was a beaver pelt and I didn’t have exact change, so I gave them a moose, and they only gave me two hooves for change. Everyone knows the rate is three. Fucking hosers.